Markets: Eerie calm

Markets: Eerie calm

it is not clear when market sentiment can change; as in the past, it can be quite sudden.
At a turn and yet not

At a turn and yet not

RBI could be tempted to cut policy rate to support growth at its bi-monthly review.

Confidence in UK North Sea up after tax breaks: Deloitte

Jan 18 2013, 09:12 IST
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SummaryDrilling for oil and gas in waters off Britain was 33% higher last year than in 2011.

Investor confidence in Britain's North Sea is on the mend with a jump in drilling and deals recorded in 2012 as the oil province, which is in long-term decline, reaps the benefits of recently announced tax breaks, says a study.

Drilling for oil and gas in waters off Britain was 33 percent higher last year than in 2011 while deal activity surged by around a third in the period, found a study by Deloitte published on Friday.

"After several years of caution and uncertainty, we have a more positive environment, where a number of factors such as tax incentives, high oil price and appetite to invest have combined to make 2012 the most encouraging year for a long time," Graham Sadler, managing director of Deloitte Petroleum Services Group, said.

The British part of the North Sea was rocked by a tax hike in March 2011 which prompted dire forecasts about the future of production. Those warnings appeared to be borne out by a dramatic 19 percent slump in oil and gas output in 2011.

New tax breaks, for older oil fields, heavy oil fields, deep-water fields and others have since given the industry more certainty and are helping provide a shot in the arm for the region, where production has been in decline since 1999.

Deloitte's study found that interest in field development, key to ensure discoveries progress to the production stage, was at a 10-year high with the government granting 21 field development approvals, boding well for a return to output growth.

A study published in December forecast that British oil output would rise in the next few years and in the past three months, the $7 billion Statoil Mariner project and two other substantial projects, Dana's $1.6 billion investment in the Western Isles, and Talisman's $2.55 billion Montrose redevelopment, have all been given the go-ahead.

In contrast to the British part of the North Sea, drilling in the Norwegian North Sea dropped 19 percent in 2012 compared to the year before.

Deloitte's Georgina Kladis, a senior manager in its petroleum services group, said little should be read into the Norwegian decline, attributing it to the limited market for the sort of rigs required to drill in the deeper water around the country.

Norwegian waters remain attractive to oil companies, she said, pointing to appetite for a recent licencing round and a string of big discoveries in the last two years, including the giant Johan Sverdrup field -

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